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Government continues to order workers to rotate staff, amid rising COVID-19 cases

Last Updated on Sunday, 5 September 2021, 11:34 by Denis Chabrol

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony taking the COVID-19 vaccine on April 6, 2021.

The Government continues to order the rotation of staff in the public and private sectors, amid a sharp rise in the number of COVID cases and deaths, according to the latest Order issued on Saturday.

“All persons employed within the Public Service, a semi-autonomous agency, statutory body or State-owned enterprise shall work on rotation unless otherwise instructed by their respective Minister or Head of Agency to work from home. Private sector entities may be opened, but employees shall work on rotation as determined by their employer,” the Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said again in his latest Order dated September 4.

As of Saturday, 640 persons have died from COVID-19. In recent days, the number daily new cases has been close to over 200. On Saturday, that number was 183. The figures also show that 35 of the 118 hospitalised patients are in the Intensive  Care Unit, in addition to 1,988 others who have been ordered to isolate themselves at home. The Health Minister believes that Guyana now has the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID based on the rate of deaths  and number of infections. Government is already on standby to accommodate COVID patients at other hospitals.

The Order states that every employer shall  ensure that appropriate COVID-19 guidelines are prepared and implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus among workers.

The COVID-19 guidelines shall include measures addressing screening of workers; the organisation of work;   preventative measures before and after work;  preventative measures while using transportation;  procedures to be adopted when there is a suspected COVID -19 case at the workplace; dealing with stress at the workplace during COVID-19;  employee education, training and capacity building in the area of COVID- 19 and   cleaning and disinfecting protocols as well as use of personal protective equipment;

Employers and employees are also required to follow physical distancing guidelines and workplace measures must consider clients and customers’ interactions; communication materials; continuous monitoring to assess  the COVID-19 pandemic at the workplace; and  the  resumption of work after a period of quarantine or isolation that was approved by the Ministry of Health.

The order, which has been published in the Official Gazette, states that every employer and employer shall comply with any guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health in relation to the work environment to prevent and reduce transmission of Coronavirus and maintain healthy work environments.

The Health Ministry restates that only vaccinated persons, including staff and patrons, are be at places of businesses such as restaurants, bars, casinos, betting shops or cinema, gyms and fitness centres.

Government also maintains that operators and conductors of any public transportation service shall be vaccinated and have in their possession an official identification document and their vaccination card, and shall produce these documents when requested to do so by a police officer or any person authorised by the Minister of Health.

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September 2021